6.20.2011

Mola Mola!

What are molas?
Molas (mor) are colorful appliqué panels completely hand crafted by the indigenous Kuna (Tule) of the San Blas Islands (Kuna Yala), an autonomous territory in Panama. Traditionally, molas are worn on the front and back of women’s blouses; therefore they have all been previously used. The production of molas didn’t begin until the 1800's when machine manufactured fabric became obtainable through trade.

How are molas made?

The technique of appliqué consists of cutting one or more pieces of fabric in an intricate, decorative design and hand stitching it on top of another piece of cloth. Original molas were comprised of only 2 colors (mor gwinagwad) and a geometric design using broad lines. Overtime, with greater exposure to and influence from outside cultures, mola colors and designs have become more complex depicting flowers, animals, and various figures.

How to determine the value of your mola:
The mola is evaluated based on its design and color, fineness of stitching, the number of layers it is comprised of, and overall workmanship.

How to display your mola:
Mola panels can be worn, framed, made into pillows, quilts, etc. The Aware Network in Australia even crafts Molas into shoes:





How to care for your mola:
Genuine molas are very durable and have been washed several times. Hand wash in warm water.

Shop for Molas: http://www.littlemangoimports.com/molas.html


2 comments:

  1. Anonymous20.6.11

    Love the molas. I have a few of them. I'd love to find a really big one.
    thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful! And love the explanation and photos. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete